The Case for A.I. and OC

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Orange County’s focus on Artificial Intelligence as a driver for CLA-OC’s vision of a “thriving OC for all”

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform our world. With AI estimated to be worth $22.17tn to the global economy by 2030, the United States is a global leader on the research, commercialization and use of AI. But competition is high. No single region within the US can rest on its laurels. In order for the United States to continue to be a leader in AI, winning the race for a world-class talent pool, from K-12 to higher education, to reskilling and upskilling, is imperative for success. 

Orange County (OC), Southern California’s growing global center of business, diversity, and culture, has a population of over 3.1 million residents (6th most populous county in the U.S.) and ranks as the 18th most diverse regions, among the top 150 largest regions in the county. Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the region touts a GDP of $283 billion. If it were a state, OC would be larger than 50% of the states. 

In Orange County, both start-ups and established businesses receive access to a diverse array of resources designed to support a thriving economy. With some of the highest ranked universities in the country, Orange County is the 5th most educated county in the country and has the second largest workforce in the US.  With almost $1 billion in venture capital invested in OC businesses,the dynamic county is poised to continue its place as a national and global powerhouse. 

 However, Orange County can be so much more, particularly given its diversity. Among the 150 largest regions, Orange County is ranked 58th in terms of income inequality, ranking higher than nearby San Diego metro area. While the working poverty rate in the region was lower than the national average in 1980 and 1990, it grew at a faster rate between 1990 and 2000 and is now on par with the national average. Racial and gender wage gaps persist in the labor market. Closing these gaps in economic opportunity and outcomes will be key to the region’s future.